January 20, 2017
NJTV Celebrates Everyday Heroes Fighting Drug Addiction at the Trenton State Museum
On Wednesday, January 18, 2017, more than 100 people gathered at the Trenton State Museum for NJTV’s celebration of the everyday heroes fighting the battle of drug addiction and overdose in the Garden State.
NJTV News correspondent Michael Hill hosted the special event, the Healthy NJ: New Jersey’s Drug Addiction Crisis Everyday Heroes Celebration. The goal of the event was to celebrate those in the community that are working tirelessly to end the stigma of drug addiction and forward progress on its education, prevention, treatment and recovery. There are many, hundreds, if not thousands, who are on the front lines of helping others with this issue.
Remarks were made by NJTV General Manager John Servidio, Acting Commissioner of the Health Department Elizabeth Connolly, who was sent to represent Governor Christie, and a taped message from U.S. Senator Cory Booker was played commending NJTV for its work on this issue. Writer Alicia Cook recited addiction-themed poetry that she and others submitted as part of the network’s poetry initiative launched in conjunction with the year-long program.
NJTV honored and gave awards to six shining examples who are making a difference:
- Journalist Stephen Stirling, NJ Advance Media
- Dr. Christopher Johnston, Corporate Medical Director of Pinnacle Treatment Centers and Medical Director of Endeavor House
- Patricia DiRenzo, Parent/Advocate
- Angelo M. Valente, Executive Director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey
- Joseph D. Coronato, Ocean County Prosecutor
- Paul Ressler, President & CEO of TOPAC — The Overdose Prevention Company
Said Servidio during the ceremony, “We strive to go deeper into the communities we serve through community engagement projects like our Healthy NJ: New Jersey’s Drug Addiction Crisis initiative. Thanks to our efforts and all those involved, from our staff to our stakeholders, we’ve been able to bring the conversation about New Jersey’s drug addiction and overdose epidemic to a new, personal yet public level. A level of awareness that those we celebrate tonight work every day to maintain.”
Asbury Park Press/Gannett covered the event.
NJTV’s Healthy NJ: New Jersey’s Drug Addiction Crisis initiative is made possible with major funding by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and additional support from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Organizations collaborating on this effort include the Community Foundation of New Jersey, Junior League of NJ – State Public Affairs Committee, New Jersey Drug Policy Alliance, Mental Health Association of NJ, Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention, among others.
Photo caption at top: Standing (L-R): NJTV’s Michael Hill; Stephen Stirling; Angelo M. Valente; Joseph D. Coronato; Dr. Christopher Johnston; and NJTV GM John Servidio. Seated (L-R): Paul Ressler and Alicia Cook. Photo credit: I. George Bilyk/NJTV.